28-year-old Georgina Farman grew up in Hull on England’s east coast, an unlikely place to start an ice hockey career. In a country more well known for football and rugby and where the women’s hockey is almost non-existent, Farman had many mountains to climb before arriving in Europe’s best league.
As a child she started going to watch men’s game and liked it so much that she asked her parents if she could play – and she hasn’t stopped since then. The only option was to play in mixed teams to start with, but by the age of 14 she was already playing for the senior women’s team with Sheffield Shadows – the sister team to the men’s Elite League club, Sheffield Steelers who have competed in the Champions Hockey League. From the age of just 16 yrs. Farman has also been playing for the Great Britain team.
And it was whilst playing for the national team that Farman experienced her career highlight when Great Britain won the 2008 Division III World Championship. They took the gold medal in dramatic fashion with an overtime goal against Slovenia.
Aged 22, her friend and GB national teammate Katie Henry suggested that Farman move to Sweden and play with her at Norrköping. After a successful first season she was invited to join Linköping HC- not their SDHL team, but their Division 1 outfit.
Despite all this, the thought that she could go pro never entered her mind, the option just wasn’t there and it was just a fun hobby.
Farman remembers wanting to play for the elite squad, loving it when she got to train with them and then getting to play her first ever matches at the pro level. So, when Kim Martin Hasson invited her to join the SDHL squad as a defender for the 2015/6 season, it was like a dream come true, “I couldn’t have been more happy, but I knew there was a lot of hard work ahead of me”, the Hull born player said.
Farman was the first Brit to take this step, but would blaze a trail for others to follow such as Great Britain’s captain Leanne Ganney (SDE), forward Louisa Durnell and netminder Nicole Jackson (both Gothenburg HC).
Four seasons at Linköping HC saw Farman establish herself at the top of the sport in Sweden as a tough defender who was more likely to make the game saving poke check that than the Game Winning Goal. She would collect a gold and two silvers in the Swedish national championships at the Östergötland club.
Throughout this article I have used the phrase “pro-hockey” to talk about the elite level of the sport. But as any of you who follow women’s hockey will know, this usually means the athlete has the attitude of a pro, but must also have another job in order to pay the bills which fits into the demanding schedule of training and travelling to away matches. For Farman, working from home as an accountant has been the surprising compliment to committed hockey lifestyle.
After four years in Linköping the Great Britain defender was in the mood for a change and decided to make the move north to Brynäs IF. And in the summer of 2019 the Gävle club made a number of attention-grabbing signings showing they have only one thing in mind – to win the SDHL. The Englishwoman has been reunited with former Linköping teammates, including the Swiss pairing of the sharp shooting Lara Stalder and fellow defender, Sarah Forster as well as Swedish two ways forward, Emma Muren.
But for Farman it is the team effort that is making the difference, “things are going really well at Brynäs. The team is great,” she says,” I think we have a lot of talented players but we all work hard together as a team and that’s what is getting us the points”.
At the time of writing Farman’s Brynäs sit in third place, just two points behind Djurgården IF. And whilst HV71 are currently at the top, Brynäs beat them 7-2 at home, so don’t be surprised if this team goes all the way and wins their first ever SDHL championship in spring 2020.
The Video clip is from IIHF 2012 World Championship, with no sound on the original.